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Nebula Awards 3
edited by Roger Zelazny
Stealth Press, 232 pages

Nebula Awards 3
Roger Zelazny
During his career, Roger Zelazny won 6 Hugos and 3 Nebulas as well as many other major awards in the SF field. Several of his novels and short stories are considered landmarks, including Lord of Light, Creatures of Light and Darkness, "Home is the Hangman," and "A Rose for Ecclesiastes." The 10-volume Chronicles of Amber is regarded as a classic fantasy series. For the last 10 years of his life, Zelazny lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He died in 1995.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Chronicles of Amber
SF Site Review: Lord of Light
SF Site Review: Donnerjack
Roger Zelazny Tribute Site
Roger Zelazny Tribute Site
Roger Zelazny Tribute Site
Roger Zelazny Obituary
Who's Who in Amber
Stealth Press

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Peter D. Tillman

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The book opens with J.G. Ballard's "The Cloud-Sculptors of Coral D", a fine Vermilion Sands story: moody, atmospheric, gorgeously written, if slight of content. There are better stories in Ballard's Vermilion Sands collection, which is well-worth seeking out -- especially if you're new to Ballard, or to land-coral, sonic statues and the eccentric habitués of Vermilion Sands, a future seaside resort in picturesque decline.

"Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes" is a solid Harlan Ellison "down & out in Las Vegas" tale: the protagonist drops his literal last dollar into a slot-machine and hits the jackpot -- three blue eyes across, instead of three cherries. Then he hits the jackpot again -- and again. Someone in there likes him... A nicely-done urban fantasy, with a nasty twist.

Then-new writer Gary Wright has faded so far from view that he doesn't even rate an entry in the current Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, but I think you'll like his "Mirror of Ice", a gripping story of future toboggan-races on suicidally-steep courses. The nameless viewpoint racer is making 'one last run', and it's a dilly. Fine straight-ahead sports-adventure writing -- hasn't aged a bit. I wonder what became of Wright?

Samuel R. Delany won the short-story Nebula for "Aye, and Gomorrah..." -- he also took home the novel award that year for The Einstein Intersection. Delany's spacers have had... unusual surgical adaptations -- "loose, swinging meat" -- and troll for Earthbound frelks -- space-groupies -- on their time off. "Gomorrah" has resonances I missed back in the 60s, but it's a fine, memorable story on any level.

"Gonna Roll the Bones" is my favorite Fritz Leiber: it's unbelievably good, maybe the best fantasy novellette ever written -- more than deserving of the 1967 Nebula it won. If you've been reading SF for awhile, you'll remember this one -- it's another gambling story, which develops into a deal with the devil. Joe Slattermill, Mr. Guts the cat, the Big Gambler, Lottie the dice girl, whose "long, skinny white-gloved arm... snaked out like an albino cobra" -- are unforgettable. What a story! The SFnal apotheosis of the American tall tale. Michael Swanwick writes that "Gonna Roll the Bones" is "a story so good it makes my teeth ache with jealousy." If you've somehow missed "Bones", well -- here's your chance, and the rest of the book is gravy. I've read this story countless times, and it gets me every time. And -- it has the best last line in the history of SF. Trust me.

I remember bouncing off Michael Moorcock's "Behold the Man" way back when, and I read it this time mostly out of a sense of duty, Nebula-winner or no. Moorcock just doesn't write to my taste -- most of the time, anyway. The plot here is simple enough: time-traveller Glogauer is stranded in Judea, 29 AD. He's rescued by John the Baptist and the Essenes, and... well, let's say he develops a serious Messiah-complex.

"Behold" is certainly well-written and researched, and has a socko finish, but I just don't care about religion -- or Mr. Glogauer, or his neurotic girlfriend. "Behold" is written in a self-consciously 'literary' style, which put me off, too. Anyway, editor Zelazny asks us to "read [Behold] very carefully, please" -- but life is short. Hell with it.

But do give it a try -- tastes differ. Anyway, who do you trust -- me, or the Nebula voters?

I must confess to being underwhelmed with Anne McCaffery's Dragonriders of Pern series, but "Weyr Seach" is where it all began, and it is interesting to see the setup of the SFnal premises for the series. Her fans will enjoy "Search" , but 'mild pleasure' is the best I can say after rereading this one.

This is the third Stealth reprint of the early Nebula anthologies, a praiseworthy effort. It's a good-quality hardback with a full cloth binding and a truly gorgeous cover, credited to Frank Paul but painted (if I read the signature right) by Bob Eggleton, from a 1927 interior illo by Paul. It's a strikingly modern image, and I'd like to compare it to the original sometime. One odd thing about the flap copy -- it's written as if Zelazny was still with us.

Copyright © 2001 Peter D. Tillman

Pete Tillman has been reading SF for better than 40 years now. He reviews SF -- and other books -- for Usenet, "Under the Covers", Infinity-Plus, Dark Planet, and SF Site. He's a mineral exploration geologist based in Arizona. More of his reviews are posted at www.silcom.com/~manatee/reviewer.html#tillman .


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